Teaching and Learning in the Blackbird Academy schools
Emotional health and nurturing for learning are central to our success. We use the Family Links programme in each classroom from nursery to year 6, but just as important as that is an ethos that ensures all children are treated with respect and dignity. We know every child can learn to believe in themselves and others, and the sound relationships that form through our approach allow even the most vulnerable or challenging children to thrive and flourish.
High quality teaching and learning that inspires every child and helps them grow in independence and understanding themselves as a learner. We want every child to feel that learning is intrinsically joyful and something precious that is relevant and accessible to them. We accept no excuses – learning is for every child throughout their time with us and beyond.
High aspirations mean that we want every child to develop the skills, enthusiasm and self-belief to be successful. We offer a rich and varied range of opportunities to secure this. We avoid the mediocre and show our children that nothing is impossible. The academy develops and extends opportunities to interact and work in the world beyond school. For example, our children have presented at national conferences, produced and sold training materials for teachers and operated as tour guides for the public during Oxford Open Doors weekend.
An innovative, challenging and exciting curriculum that promotes an entrepreneurial, enquiry based approach. Outdoor learning and residential trips expand and enrich learning. Each theme is presented as a question to be explored and we encourage children to become research experts. Much english work is developed through story‐telling and poetry, aligning delight in the beauty of literature with precise teaching of the core skills of reading, spelling handwriting and grammar. We use the Hamilton maths approach which places understanding of our number system and calculation at the heart of maths.
Being open to seeing things differently or from another point of view is a crucial skill we develop. Adults need to model this in all aspects of their relationships with children and with their own work. We need all of our school community to be innovative and entrepreneurial and to demonstrate tenacity to see things through.
Courage, self-belief and stamina with a critical approach for adults and for children is key to our work. Our teachers model this and develop an approach to learning that promotes these attributes from the very start of school. Part of this is having the ability to set yourself exacting standards and the personal resolve to ensure you reach those challenging goals.
Sharing the joy of learning with families and the wider community marks our academy approach. The range and scale of activities is simply huge – working together to pick apples and turn them into juice or perhaps mincemeat, a shared visit to a local forest or organising the “Blackbird Leys Mile” run for the community are all recent experiences. Each activity enriches the learning of our children, and helps put learning at the centre of our community.